Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

by Paris B on · 33 comments

in Discussions,Simple Blogging Tips (for beauty bloggers),Tips

First off, I write a beauty blog so the tips I will share here are mostly for beauty bloggers, of which I know many of you are. That said, they are also applicable generally across most blog topic niches – you may have to just think about it a little more icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

After I wrote about showing off your blog comment links on your blog to encourage discussion, I had some comments on Twitter and in that same comment box from fellow bloggers about people not commenting on their blogs, and how they can encourage the first step. I don’t profess to know why some blogs have more people commenting than others or how to encourage this. I can only share some tips I have learnt and experienced over the years as a blogger and blog reader, that I hope will help icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

blog comments Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

1. Build a community

Yes, easier said than done, but it really is the first step towards receiving comments from readers. Blogging, as I like to emphasise is a community project. I view it as a neighbourhood where our blogs are our houses, and readers are visitors so comments are like visitors coming by to stop for a chat and some coffee or tea or maybe ice cream icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

So interact with your readers and other bloggers. Indulge in social media activity of your choice to grow your blog and when your circle is wider, you will find people interacting more with you on your blog, by leaving comments. Friends especially are helpful in this regard because friends always like stopping by for drinks or a snack and a bit o’ gossip icon wink Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

Then, importantly, respond to your commentators where possible. I like it when I get a response to my comment on another blog – it tells me the blogger took the time to read my comment and reply and if I have a question that is answered, all the better! I appreciate that and it keeps me going back and to continue commenting because I know I will get a reply.

2. Write something controversial

Fact is, people love controversy. So, if you dislike a product that everyone else loves, why not say so. You don’t have to bash it, but you can say in no uncertain terms you do not like it. Or perhaps you want to comment on something you’ve seen or a service you have tried. Or maybe you just want to talk about something most people try not to – check out Tine’s post on Made in China products as a case in point. She didn’t mean it to be controversial, but in fact it is and I think she handled it well icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

3. Show pictures of latest product releases

Fans of beauty products always want to see the actual photos of the new releases and to read associated reviews. So if you have them then good on ya! Show them off, and people may be encouraged to comment, whether to sigh over how pretty they are or to gawk. I may not be at the forefront of things but I too like looking at what’s new and I do tend to comment too  if the photos are good ones.

Which brings us to a sub-point – taking good photos for your beauty blog. Good clear photos always draw people in and good photos encourage comment because people see just how beautiful the product is. A blurry, dark, grainy or overly filtered photo just makes people click away because it tells them nothing.

If you choose to go down this route, be prepared to always have to be right at the forefront of things. You must be out there, always first with news and photos. I personally have given up on this and am now just writing what I want when I want to. Yes, some may be new products but if I don’t get the newest and the latest, I’m not fussed about it anymore icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post Similarly, I don’t make it a priority to make a new product my primary focus, unless I have something to say or if I want you to please please check it out because its absolutely gorgeous and I don’t want you to miss it! icon wink Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post Case in point: Dior Rosy Glow blush and Guerlain Cruel Gardenia – too beautiful for you to miss and I hope you didn’t!

4. Ask questions of your readers

Asking questions implies you are seeking answers and people like helping you find those answers! I know I feel that way because I’m a reader and I also like sharing thoughts with product reviews or a tip or a technique I come across. The next thing to do, is to ask the right questions. Not every question elicits a response so the trick is to ask the right questions, which only you will know because the readers of every blog respond differently in every situation. Vivawoman employs this in her weekly discussive posts which are sometimes thought provoking. You may notice that there is a weekly discussive post here on MWS too which could be about anything and everything under the sun!

Sometimes, as Eli of Soloverly has proven, just simply seeking the help of readers provokes a good response. People love sharing information especially when they think you need help so don’t worry about always having to know the answers. Sometimes, its when we don’t know the answers, that we may actually find them!

5. Share something personal

A personal story always  resonates with readers who, lets face it, love having a peek into the lives of others. It there any wonder why reality tv shows do so well? icon wink Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post So share a mile stone, or your shopping haul or a piece of yourself, depending on your comfort level.

At the end of the day, how readers respond to a blog depends on each individual blog and blogger. Some sites have lots of readers but few comments. I don’t know and don’t profess to know how it happens. Sometimes, I don’t even know if a blog post will even elicit comment when I publish it. At other times, the most innocuous of blog posts end up with the most comments ever because everyone feels the need to say something (or point out an error perhaps icon wink Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post )

The one sure fire way I know of that actually works is Tip #1 – Building a community. Oft times, I find that blog comments are left from readers, visitors and friends who I like to refer to as the community. As a blog reader, I too tend to leave comments on blog posts that I feel I have something to contribute to, or friends’ blogs by way of encouragement, or just on blogs that I read often and feel a part of their community.

If you blog, do you have tips on how you encourage your readers to comment? If you are a reader, do share if there are posts that you feel more inclined to comment on than others?  What sorts of posts make you feel like you want to have a say in the comment box? Do share! icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: 5 ways to encourage readers to leave comments or to discuss a blog post

Paris B

Simple Blogging Tips are some simple tips I have for fellow bloggers, based on my own experiences. I’m no ‘guru’ but I hope they will help you. You may read up on previousSimple Blogging Tips here.

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[ 33 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Ana N. March 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

can i add sth as well?
some beauty blogger that i go to dont really answer my questions that well, and some of them dont really reply in an encouraging way/ lazy/ slightly off-putting (if u kno wat i mean). i guess, it doesnt matter if a blogger doesnt approve ur comment if its totally dodgy/ bad. and also it doesnt matter if a blogger doesnt reply ur published comment, but when they do reply to it i guess it should be in a way that actually encourage readers to come back for more.
to me, readers who follow a beaty blog are like their little sisters/brothers who alwiz look up on the blogger. and i can see how those bloggers can be very popular when they treat their kiddies nicely :)
u hv always been good to me & the readers here, paris. keep it up! =D

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:41 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts as a reader Ana :) I think I know what you mean. Sometimes nuances get lost in online text so it’s probably an important thing to bear in mind when dealing with others :) I liked your analogy of little brothers and sisters, although I’d prefer to think us all on par with one another because we are all learning too :)

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Tine
Twitter:
March 16, 2012 at 9:13 am

Hahaha thanks for the link love :P I’m actually going to be doing a write-up on controversial posts soon, so I’m quite excited about that. It’s true, people love reading something that’s unconventional, step on maybe a few toes, etc, but at the end of the day, it makes us think and I like it. Unfortunately, it can also be a case of walking on eggshells, especially if you don’t have thick skin because with controversial posts, be very prepared to expect the worst sort of comments you can get. Not the troll ones (those I can’t be stuffed with), but the ones that are valid, face-slapping and gut-punching. The ones that you cannot delete (well, you shouldn’t) because the person may have also made a legitimate point. You know what I mean?

That aside, great post. I particularly like it when bloggers of a particular niche share something personal in their blogs. Once in a while, post something about yourself, your family, a personal experience that has nothing to do with the blog. I think it’s a breath of fresh air :)
Tine recently blogged…List of Lusts: MakeupMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:45 am

Ah looking forward to your take on controversial posts. I think those who choose to write a controversial post have to do so with an open mind, and shouldn’t write it in the heat of the moment. Negative or strong criticism in the comments is always a bit of a bitter pill to swallow but I feel too that we can agree to disagree in an adult manner without being unduly harsh. Problem is not everyone thinks that way :P

I like it when bloggers share a personal tidbit too. Just because we write and read blogs of a particular niche means we have to be just solely focused on that one topic. It can get trying at times too.

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Tine
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 5:47 am

I highly agree. I wrote that post ages ago, had it on the backburner, tweaking, writing and rewriting. Posts should never be written at the heat of the moment when emotions are still raw and angry.

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Lily
Twitter:
March 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

Thx for the post! Definitely useful :-) Comments are important to me not because it makes the post look impressive, or it shows popularity, but it gives me validity. Good or bad, I’d like to know if anyone feels the same. Weird much?
Lily recently blogged…Lining your Eyes 201: Wing It x2My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:49 am

Not weird at all :) without comments or interactions, we wouldn’t know if anyone actually agrees, disagrees, or even cares about what we’re talking about and I think the latter will sting the most!

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Issa March 16, 2012 at 10:19 am

What made me start to comment here was your post where in you asked your readers to ask you any question. It showed me that you are very approachable because you really take time to answer to your readers. It made me feel that you are ready to help by sharing your knowledge about skincare and makeup to me. That interaction with your readers took away the shyness that I have and it encouraged me to comment and ask if I have any questions. :) I also like posts where you shared something personal about you, it made me know you a little bit. :) More power to you blog PB! :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:50 am

Aww Issa, you just reminded me we haven’t had one of those chat sessions in ages! I will have to find some time to organize one – it’s so much fun isn’t it? I’m glad that it helped to draw you out into the open ;)

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Hanny Daforcena
Twitter:
March 16, 2012 at 10:25 am

I personally view cmments as a sort of “review” about the post. It shows how much your readers like the post or not. It is also a platform for dialogue to get conversations started hahaha.
Hanny Daforcena recently blogged…Hmmm… This Looks Familiar But Not Review: Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Black and SilverMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:51 am

Definitely. If I were just blogging and talking to myself all the time, I think I’d have shut down a long time ago for boredom if nothing else :P

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LeGeeque March 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

I agree with the controversial one but my thoughts are usually too controversial to be shared with too wide an audience :P Besides, I wouldn’t know how to deal with copping some flak :P So, I usually share it with a few close friends I know who won’t judge me for having (admittedly sometimes stupid) opinions. Tine’s post on Made in China was a very good example of showing grace under fire. She really copped it from every direction but she held her ground firmly and clarified where needs to be clarified.

Guess the point is, don’t be afraid to speak up. Chances are, many others share your thoughts. The only difference is that you’ve got the guts to step up and voice it (and be prepared to cop it too while we’re on that)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

I keep some thoughts to myself too. Some people can get sensitive over nothing and some things are just not “polite conversation” unless among friends. I do think that in the main, how a controversial post may be responded to depends too on how the blogger phrases their words. If inflammatory then the comments will reflect that but if rationally then the comments will reflect that too. And yep, definitely expect to receive a brickbat or two and be able to deal with it rationally.

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Jyoan March 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

I like tip #1! That’s very true, when I look at your blog. I think it’s kind of like Facebook, or MSN (in the past). There is a certain method to get people to reply to one’s wall post, and some people always get replies no matter what the post is about.

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

Lol! MWS is like Facebook! I love that analogy Jyoan! :D The nice thing about the community spirit is that people know or feel like they can just drop in with a random question and not get flack for not sticking to the topic!

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Nikki March 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I love comments and I can’t wait to read about them and even make follow up comments! I love talking to readers and I think that’s one way to receive more comments (By replying them) :)

Wonderful post as usual!!! I agree on clear photos! I love seeing nice photos of any product!!! :D
Nikki recently blogged…Eureka Moment: Hair Arrange SetMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

Indeed! Interaction with readers in the comments is part of the fun of reading a blog. Sometimes, you may find the answer to your question right In the comments and that’s fun! I love seeing nice c,ear photos too. They are the first thing to draw me into a blog.

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Ling
Twitter:
March 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Great blogging tips, Paris! All your points are so valid and I can relate to all of them. I totally get the building a community tip…but it takes time…And at the same time, I love it when bloggers reply my comments…no matter how silly or stupid or pointless my comment is. ;)
Ling recently blogged…Must Try : Biotherm Facials At MyerMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

Thank you Ling and I’m glad you found them helpful :D I do agree with you that the community thing takes time and a lot of work. Can’t just sit back and expect it to mushroom overnight (much as we want it to, yes?) and bloggers who reply my comments always get the thumbs up from me because it shows they do care about what goes on in their comment box!

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sesame March 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I think the personal type of posts elicit more responses. Controversial topics too but some bloggers can’t handle that too way and then go down the XX route. Some readers are however, quite shy to leave comments and they prefer to email instead. In this case, I suspect some of them are just worried that their comments may come across as silly.

With social media, I also find comments on the blog itself can get diluted as some of them seem to prefer discussing on FB for example, rather than on the blog. So bloggers may have to actively encouraged this group to hop on to the blog to comment there if that’s what they want.
sesame recently blogged…DIY Beauty: 5 ways to use green tea on your faceMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 1:04 am

I personally prefer if readers email in their queries if it’s related to an old post but shyness maybe part of the reason too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts re: Facebook and the dilution effect. I didn’t think of it because i don’t feel it so much (maybe because my FB interaction is quite minimal) but it is most certainly a valid point to consider!

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Vivi
Twitter:
March 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Wow, thanks for the tips! In my case, I seem to get more e-mails than comments. I guess it’s because the community spirit isn’t there yet so not a lot feel comfortable sharing their thoughts in public. It might be because I rarely share personal stories with my readers and my identity is not out there. Nobody even knows how I look like (probably except for Sesame, haha).
From a reader’s perspective (and I feel this personally when I’m checking out other blogs, too), when I don’t see photos of the blogger, I feel that the blog seems to have less soul behind it. In fact, a reader visiting an identity-less blog for the first time might even get the wrong idea that the blog is simply a commercial info site with no passionate blogger behind it. Going back to encouraging comments on posts — not a lot of people may want to talk to a Blog, they want to interact with a “real” person.
Vivi recently blogged…Quickie Update – Giveaways, Reviews, Help!My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 1:09 am

Hey emails are good too :) I sometimes think too it maybe the subject matter that determines if readers prefer to email rather than comment. I don’t personally think it necessary to share a lot of personal stuff, or to show ones face on the blog. It’s nice to know the blogger behind the blog but we also should respect another’s privacy :) Although a blogger may not show or tell too much about themselves, they can still build an image in words or in comment interaction and sometimes just in the way one “speaks” :)

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Swati
Twitter:
March 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm

same like Vivi…I get more mails than comments!!!
Swati recently blogged…Liz Earle Botanical Shine Treatment {Product Review}My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 1:10 am

That’s a good thing too! At least you’re getting a response one way or another :)

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BunBunMakeupTips
Twitter:
March 16, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I also have given up on #3! Actually I never really attempted to try. Too difficult!

I like to read and comments on blogs that have the blogger reply to comments. I know blogs that have plenty of comments but none from the blogger herself. Yet people still leave comments coz she’s that good.

I love your simple blogging tips posts!
BunBunMakeupTips recently blogged…Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes Part 5 – Horizontal Gradient MethodMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 1:16 am

Thanks Bun Bun! Glad you are enjoying the simple tips hehe… I know some very popular bloggers get hundreds of comments everyday so they may not be able to reply to all of them. But I do appreciate when they at least reply to the questions readers may pose in the comments. That would be the minimum interaction one should and could reasonably expect :)

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Eli March 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thanks for the link! Re controversial topics, I remember the huge hooha when I criticised the Watsons VIP Card. Even male friends were giving feedback!

I still try not to shop at Watsons, btw. >_<

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 1:18 am

I remember that watsons post. It made sense and you weren’t bashing or anything :) I do shop at watsons though I haven’t succumbed to the card. I’m not that loyal :P

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milktea March 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I will keep your post in reserve. I’m not a beauty blogger but my company allows staff to start their own blogs on the company website. So I wonder if your blogging tips can be used to attract readers if I suddenly decide to start a blog talking about (normally boring) company matters. Anyway… :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 1:27 am

The Internet is so wide and there are people searching for information all the time. I’m sure there’ll be someone who will want to read about your company matters, no matter how boring, because it affects them one way or another ;) a bit of thought may have to be put into tweaking my tips but I’m sure they’ll fit in one way or another. Won’t know till you try! ;)

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Sunny
Twitter:
March 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

PARIS!!! Thanks so much for the tips! I’ve always found them very inspiring and useful!

I am honest about what I like and don’t like, so I guess when I said Revlon Lip Butters are overrated on my blog, it was actually pretty controversial. However, I do have this aversion to confrontation, so I always encourage my readers to try something for themselves even if I have told them honestly I don’t like it. Or I try to figure out who might find this better than I do (people with drier skin/cooler undertone and so on).

About staying on the top of things, I have more or less made the decision not to do it, at least for the moment. I do receive e-mails of press releases, but first of all, when a lot of products make their way to Belgium (MAC collections for example), they are already old news in the blogosphere. People might already have even seen swatches of the entire collection on US blogs by the time I get press release from PR companies here in Belgium, so I see little point of doing so. Second of all, I find it a pity that some local bloggers who have been on the blogging scene for longer have stopped churning out decent swatches and reviews. Instead, they post press release after press release on their blogs. I guess since they are already in the circle, and press samples will still turn up in their mailboxes anyways, there is no point of working hard anymore. I am new, I can’t afford to do that, but even if/when I become more established I hope I will be conscious enough not to do this. It’s sad to keep a blog running with press releases! If I one day do start getting the latest information, I might post some on the blog. But otherwise I don’t think I’ll start chasing after the rainbow :)

Again, thanks for the tips Paris! Excelling in anything is a lot of work!
Sunny recently blogged…FOTD: Happy Saint Patrick’s Day featuring Urban Decay 24/7 in Stash, Mildew, NARS Paramaribo, MAC Humid, & Wet n’ Wild Comfort ZoneMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for finding these tips helpful, Sunny :) Honesty is always the best policy because you will know that you’ll never be caught out in a lie hehe… I too think that the Revlon Lip Butters aren’t all that although many people disagree. Like you, I offer suggestions for alternative people who may like or for whom a product may agree, simply because there’s no right or wrong rule about product use is there? :)

I know what you mean too about coming across blogs that are just press releases. Its sad when a respected blogger goes that way, because most of us readers would have read them as a commentary blog, and to suddenly be inundated with press releases that you can easily read elsewhere (or in mags) is disappointing. But a mixture of news and reviews is fun if the blogger gets it right :D Good on you for enjoying your blogging stint and not chasing rainbows – remember, you can never catch them! ;)

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